My 3 Monsters: January 2009

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Highlight of My Day

Three words: Duct Tape Wallets. After allowing Riley some freedom to create and figure things out, I stepped in right as he was turning the corner from fun to frustration. Together we made this little beauty:

It may be hard to see in this little photo, but I would like you to notice the cool zip-loc closure at the top and the sweet Guitar Hero stickers. Yeah. It's classy. I love that 5 minutes of my time and a few strips of duct tape made my favorite 9 year old beam from ear to ear for most of the evening. I also love that that sweet little guy wanted me to make one for his brother, too. Today was a good day.

What the . . .

"Pink is the color of fantasy. Our model, Chicken, looks like her mind is elsewhere when she wears this wig -- somewhere in a land of cotton candy and pinwheels where the air smells like sugar kisses.
Pink makes your kitty feel elegant, modern and quintessentially feline."
P.S. to Kelly: Next Christmas I hope I get your name again . . .


Painting the Roses Red, We're Painting the Roses Red . . .

I've been at the kids' school every afternoon this week working on painting the sets for Alice in Wonderland which is next Friday. It has been fun! I volunteered to do it, but when they called me about it I had this feeling of dread that I just couldn't shake. I always feel that when I commit to doing something BIG and question whether I'll actually be able to pull it off. It's silly, really. The boys and I have been painting during rehearsals and I LOVE seeing Sydney in action. It is glorious. And having my boys working by my side . . . SO FUN! I'll post a picture tonight after I've finished (hopefully . . . ) the backdrop. It's a perspective view of Wonderland with the White Rabbit's house in front. A little pathway leads to the Mad Hatter's tea party and then follows on to the Queen of Hearts' castle way back in the distance. I hope it turns out as cute as I'm imagining it. And, while it pains me to put this much work into something that will be thrown away in a week, there is nothing I wouldn't do for my little Alice.


Stop the Insanity!!!

Sooooo . . . you may have noticed that I don't post very many pictures of myself. OK, like none. I'm just going to lay it all on the line here. We're friends, right? And Oprah (whom I loooove, not!) says you can't change what you don't acknowledge and embrace, so . . . . I'm a monster. I'm gaining weight like crazy. I have adult acne. And age spots. And bags under my eyes. And hair on my chin. It's not pretty.

Now, I've never been a skinny, winsome girl. Ever. I've been a size 10/12 most of my adult life and I've made peace with that. In every other aspect I am the very picture of health. But this past year I am beginning to feel like I'm falling apart. I have trouble sleeping at night, hence the bags under my eyes, but I could spend the entire day in bed. I am gaining weight every day. Seriously. Like half a pound a day. I am (almost literally) bursting out of my fat clothes. What is wrong with me?! The only thing that has changed in the past twelve months is the anti-anxiety medication I started taking and turning 35. Both have the possible unfortunate side effect of weight gain. I guess I've been doubly blessed. AAAAARRRGGGH!

I am finding it rather difficult to make peace with this new me. I WORK IN A GYM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Do you know how much it stinks to be the fat girl working at the gym?! And I was already that at the top of my game! Maybe it's time to go back to the doctor and re-evaluate my medication or my health in general. And PLEASE tell me this is not peri-menopause. I don't think I could bear the thought.


Perfectly Committed and Perfectly Motivated -OR- What a Difference a Day Makes

I'm feeling so much better today with that quilt under my belt. Please tell me it looks like a temple. I just need to add the gold buttons at the top for the Angel Moroni. Anyway, it was done for Young Women in Excellence tonight. I also got the lace sewn on Sydney's "Alice" apron (forgot to put that on the list), but we ate pancakes for dinner instead of the delicious Thai curry I had promised my children. Lee Lee's Oriental Market is at the top of my to-do list tomorrow, along with making posters for the gym (also forgot those on the list) and being home to be Visit Taught (I'm looking forward to that). All the rest is cake. Wanna' know a secret about me? I like to be busy. AND I kind of like to complain about how busy I am. Don't you hate those kind of people?! Whatever. (I'm also feeling better because I realized today that I can do many of the things on my list WHILE watching TV. Sweet! You should also know that I DID bathe today.)


Overcommitted and Undermotivated.

In the next seven days I have to:
  • sew a quilt for one of our young women who earned her recognition award
  • design and paint scenery for the elementary school musical
  • bake 4 dozen cup cakes for a wedding in our ward
  • work a double shift at the gym
  • take my kids to the school sock hop
  • bake a dozen cookies for Cub Scout Pack Meeting
  • work out six times
  • run to the Oriental market so I can make Panang Curry for the fam tomorrow night - AND -
  • not ingest any unnecessary chemicals, including, but not limited to: Tylenol, Tylenol PM (I've been having trouble sleeping), Excedrin and caffeine (and trouble waking up).

All I really want to do is:

  • lay in bed and watch TV
  • MAYBE bathe

What's a girl to do?! But really, wasn't today a wonderful day for TV watching?


My Brush with Fame.

This is Micheal Pollack.
He owns the Tempe Dollar Cinemas.
He is a real estate developer.
He is the Donald Trump of the East Valley.
He looks a little like a porn star from the 70's.
Not that I would know, but I imagine.
Not that I imagine. Whatever.
He is a very, very minor local "celebrity'.
He was at BJ's last night when we went out for
Tammy's birthday pizookie.
He sat at the next table over from us.
So, yeah. It was a good night.


Ummm . . . Mixed Reviews

Love Kevin James. ( I married his doppelganger, didn't I?)
Laughed. A lot. (But was it really funny or did I WANT it to BE funny?)
Liked it? Ummm . . . let me sleep on it.


His Father's Son

November Writing Journal
A rare, revealing glimpse into the little boy psyche.
And the answer to so, so many of my questions about this child.


And the Award Goes To . . . .

The Pee Pee Bulls Eye!!!!
Buy it on etsy.
Worth every one of the 399 pennies it will cost you.
(You get 4!!!)


Time Wasted?

So . . . I painted my little craft closet today. And, for the record, I love it. The only problem is that now I don't want to put anything in there to cover up all the loveliness. And when I looked at my filthy floors tonight and got a call from the ward clerk wanting my 4th quarter attendance report, I wondered if maybe my time today could have been better spent. Whatever. I really DO love it. And I'm totally moving in. Tomorrow. I just want to sit back and admire it for one night.


A "Room" of My Own

Welcome to my Craft Room/ Office/ 48 cubic feet of completely personal space. I can't begin to express how thrilled I am with it. It makes me giddy, really. The new year has blessed Brent and I with an even firmer resolve to organize these 1300 square feet we call home. It has been lovely finding room where once there wasn't and making things fit where once they didn't. And . . . (pause in due respect) . . . finding myself with a newly unclaimed closet. I quickly planted my flag and claimed it in the name of Amy G Designs before anyone else could get any ideas. I was going to start moving in this afternoon, but then my "designer" wheels started turning and I held off. I am going to milk these 48 cubic feet for all they're worth. I've been toying with ideas all afternoon . . . pink and brown, shabby chic, black and white damask, oh my! I think I've finally decided on robin's egg blue for the walls with a black silhouette-y branchy design painted by moi. The shelves will stay white. I have some cute little 10 inch square frames that I have made into cork boards to hang on the inside of the door and I am envisioning those pretty, big glass jars lined up on one shelf holding my ribbon collection and paint brushes and other sundries. Someone's going to be busy tomorrow . . . hee hee hee!


Seven Things You May Not Know About My New Seven Year Old:

  1. Ever since he was about 18 months old, his head smells like toast. Not always. Especially not right after school when he's all sweaty, but first thing in the morning when he wants his wake up hugs. Toasty. And I love it.

  2. He. Has. Rhythm. (ba dum bum) He. Has. Music. (bum, bum) He. Likes. To. Dance. (sing it) Who could ask for anything more? He really would be a talented dancer if he had any desire to pursue that particular gift.

  3. He's really very quiet and shy. If you're an adult. And until he gets to know you. After that . . . watch out.

  4. He was my easiest infant. Dylan would sit in his bouncy seat or lay on the floor and entertain himself for hours on end. He didn't become a "hand full" until . . . about the time his head started smelling like toast.

  5. He is the biggest lazy bones in our family. Always has been, always will be. He likes to sleep.

  6. He adores baby girls and is adored by them in return. He was a huge help when he used to come to work with me. He'll be a wonderfully loving and tender father.

  7. He is Heavenly Father's gift to our family. We thought we were done with two -- a boy and a girl -- perfect. Heavenly Father knew better. Our family was forever changed 7 years ago and life has been brighter ever since.


Anatomy of a 7th Birthday Party

Also required, but not pictured:
  • a man with a plan (Thanks Brent!!)
  • camouflage pants
  • super luxurious sleeping accommodations (a tent set up in the living room)
  • 4 friends
  • bomb-shaped cupcakes with magic relighting candle fuses
  • a really cool aunt to teach mom how to make super sweet t-shirts (Thanks Daina!)

Optional (but highly recommended):

  • Nerf guns
  • Wii
  • cheese pizza
  • ear plugs

My baby boy is turning 7 tomorrow and, as if I needed more proof, he is proving how grown up he is by having his first sleep over party. It's bittersweet. On one hand, I'm missing my darling, dependent, chunky, cheeky, cheerful little guy more every day. On the other hand, he's a great kid with great friends and I'm proud of the boy he's becoming. I can't stop time so I might as well embrace it.

This army-themed party is reminding me of a conversation I overheard when we were driving somewhere in Utah this Christmas. D turned to Britt and said, "Hey. If we both join the army at the same time maybe they'll give us both the same big gun." "Yeah, maybe," his cousin replied, nodding. Heaven help us all if our fates are ever left in the hands of these two little hellions.


I'm Sooooo Green!

I needed groceries today. Lots of groceries. For my whole family for the whole next week. And I needed them cheap and wanted them fast. I don't know about you, but those are two ideals that don't work together when it comes to grocery shopping around here. Oh, I can buy food fast, but it costs more than I like to spend (which is as little as possible). I can also buy food cheap, but it takes all day to plan and clip coupons and go to three different stores. Today I opted for cheap . . . though it pained me to "waste" my entire day off doing so. Also, I'm not feeling very good so everything seemed to take twice as long as it should have. Ugh! Finally, at nearly 2:00 as I was heading out the door I was reminded (by the ONE reusable grocery bag laying by the door) of my firm resolve to be more environmentally kind this year. UGH! I drop my purse and keys and list and begin the process of gathering all the reusable grocery bags from their various and sundry hiding places, cursing my dang conscience all the while. Long story short (?), I did my shopping, used my cute little bags and decided it really IS so much more to fun to shop when you have cart full of cute, colorful bags as a visual reminder, to yourself and everyone else, of what a wonderful person you are. Ha!


Order! Order!

Just look at them . . . they're beautiful. Full of the endless possibility of order where once there was chaos. Oh, hi! Maybe we haven't met . . . I'm the side of Amy (becoming more dominant with age) with the obsessive need for "a plan". I'm the walking family organizer. I'm the one who is supposed to know where every single thing is in our home and where every single person is supposed to be at any given moment. Yes, Cathy, I'm the one who laminated an itinerary for our Girls Weekend. I cannot tell you how good it felt to walk into Target and fill my cart up to heaping with containers of varying shapes and sizes. (This picture shows the fruits of trip #2 this week.) The sweet man in our ward who has had me do some design consulting on his home remodel is wanting to repay me by helping Brent build shelves into our master bedroom closets. He's a carpenter and by "helping" I hope he means doing it all while Brent keeps him company. Does life get any better than this?!


People Make the Coolest Things!

Sooooo . . . I have a new semi-obsession. It's Etsy -- a website where people can buy and sell handmade crafts and stuff. I'm not even sure how I found it. It may have been when I was searching for vinyl lettering for one of my mural clients. It doesn't matter. I could spend hours there. I have found everything from the fabric of my dreams (I know, I know. Enough about the fabric.) to a skull and crossbones vinyl decal that says "Keep Out" (for my boys' bedroom door) to targets that you put in the bottom of your toilet bowl (hello, two sons here . . .) to an Alice in Wonderland charm necklace to give my super star daughter on opening night (shhhhhh!) to cute, cute accessories that I covet for myself. The best part? Lots of the things (that I love, anyway) cost less than twenty dollars. And, AND, I have gotten so many great ideas for things I want to make myself. Hello, a monogram formed out of vintage buttons on a toss pillow?! Who'd 'a thunk it? It's fabulous and I am sooo loving the monograms lately. Anyway, I'm so enamored I could go on all night. here's a sampling of my faves:
OK, so that last one is just plain icky, but it gave me a much needed chuckle this afternoon. You should check Etsy out for yourself!


My Man is Crazy Cool . . .

. . . see for yourself.

I lifted this photo from my sister-in-law Kristen's blog because a few of our friends couldn't find it there after reading her teaser in a comment here. He's a kook, but you just have to love a man who feels your need for designer fabric and, after being convinced of what a complete bargain it is, allows you to get it. That's real love for you, right there. And, let's be honest, he looks pretty flippin' sweet in those hot red pumps!

In 2009 . . . (cont'd.)

I'm not good at hellos and goodbyes. You'd think I would be after moving so much growing up. You'd be wrong. I'm not good at year-in-review thingys and I'm clearly not good at resolutions. I just have hopes and lots of crazy dreams. It works for me. All I really want is to be happy and, in my humble opinion, the happiest people are the ones who have hope. Hope for a brighter tomorrow . . . Hope for life after death . . . Hope for the futures of my sweet little kids . . . Hope for a beautiful new bedroom enrobed in beautiful Amy Butler fabric . . . Hope for another cruise with "the compound" . . . Hope for more painting jobs . . . Hope for time spent with family . . . Hope that my parents will retire and move somewhere closer than Houston . . . Hope for another college reunion (this time not in MY town) . . . Hope that I will find an extra 1000 square feet of space in my cute little house . . . Hope that my good choices will lead me to the right place at the right time to make the difference I was meant to make in this world. So, 2009, I HOPE you'll be kind to me and my loved ones. And hello . . . or whatever . . .


In 2009 . . .

  • I would like to cut my debt by 1/3. I would like to stick to our financial plan. I would like to feel good about my relationship with money (hello, Suze Orman) and know that I was making good choices and being a wise steward of our financial blessings. I would like to help others whenever possible.
  • I would like to seek personal inspiration and revelation by praying and studying the scriptures daily. I would like to make more time for meditation and temple worship. I would like to fast purposefully and teach my children to do the same.
  • I would like to find joy in magnifying my calling at church. I would like to be more outgoing and develop a friendly relationship with each young women. I would like to be more reliable in fulfilling my responsibilities.
  • I would like to stay close with my ever-maturing children by participating cheerfully in activities they enjoy. I would like to take the time to listen when they talk -- about whatever they want to talk about -- and take more opportunities to make them feel special. I would like to actively help them find and develop talents.
  • I would like to be more kind . . . to my family, to myself, and to people in general. I would like to have a positive, cheerful outlook on life and speak only kind words to (and about) others.
  • I would like to make my health a priority by finding time to work out regularly and by eating foods that make me feel good (bye bye, Coke and cheeseburgers). I would like to get enough sleep and have energy to find new physical activities I enjoy.
  • I would like to keep better control of Riley's diabetes and lower his A1c.
  • I would like to improve our home by upgrading some things and just maintaining some things better (ahem, our yard).
  • I would like to have fun . . . even whilst maintaining a level of responsibility. I've spent too long being unnecessarily anxious about things. This year I would just like to let it all rip and enjoy my stinkin' great life.

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